Annual Gathering Celebrates Jubilarians, Priesthood
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 2, 2024
ROCKFORD—“We  are called to something that is beyond our own natural human powers, but not beyond His, not beyond those of the One Who has called us,” Bishop David Malloy said at the annual Jubilarian Mass held on April 23 at St. Rita Church.
 
He spoke of the events in the first part of each year that relate to the priesthood, including the February priest retreat, the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass and renewal of promises followed by the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. “The Eucharist is at the heart of our own unity,” he said, “all the way back to the union of those first Apostles (and) the responsibility that comes from being called …”
 
Ordinations, the bishop said, will have the priests thinking back to their own ordinations, and the Jubilarian Mass “in some ways is a part of that chain.”
The 2024 priest jubilarians are:
 
60 years: Father Leonardo Maldonado and Msgr. P. William McDonnell
 
50 years: Abbot Joel Rippinger, OSB, of Marmion Abbey
 
40 years: Msgr. Eric Barr and Msgr. Joseph Jarmoluk
 
25 years: Father James Keenan, Father Jerome Koutnik, Father Pierre Polycarpe and Father Dean Smith
 
10 years: Father Jared Twenty.
 
More on the priest jubilarians is coming soon in the June 21 issue of The Observer.
 
Sister jubilarians are scheduled to be highlighted in the July 12 issue.

Bishop Malloy spoke of how “not the essence of the priesthood, but the cultural reality of (the priesthood) has dramatically changed in the course of the time of the honorees. … We live in a certain way in a very different moment than when many of us entered the priesthood. And yet the essence, our own unity, our faith, is still there.”

This jubilarian celebration is, he said, “a moment to be reminded not only to be grateful and to rejoice with those who have been faithful to this point, but again to be reminded of our unity and our unity with the particular church of the Diocese of Rockford … this is where the faithful that we serve are. … there is a culture here … all of that is a part of what we have given ourselves to.”
 
Noting those celebrating 60 years, 50 years, 40 years, 25 years, 10 years, the bishop said that “Every one of these mileposts, these markers, gives each one of us something to think about in our priesthood. We’re encouraged by them to keep going, to keep bearing the cross that has been entrusted to us by Christ … (to) be encouraged that in this time when everything seems to change and commitment seems to be so hard to keep, it is possible … because He is with us and always (will be) until the end of the age.” 
 
The young priests also are to be celebrated and are, he said, a “reminder to us who are older, to keep our priestly spirit and commitments young and fresh, not let them grow old and tired. …”
 
Looking at the many forms of diversity within the priesthood, Bishop Malloy said, “all of that is still united in our priesthood and in the Eucharist.”
 
“In every step, He is with us. Congratulations and especially thank you … and thank God.”
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